What is it about the PBS channel that they feel the need to try to pick your pockets several times a year? They do this by asking for pledges to donate money on a monthly basis or a one-time contribution. They claim the government gives them 10% of funds needed to run their Public Broadcasting Service. The rest of the money is given through viewer membership. Money is supposedly used to purchase shows for air on PBS and to pay for the making of original programming such as movies, concerts and documentaries. The begging for contributions lasts about a month and then comes back around in more plea sessions every two to three months.
The Basic Membership Level starts at $35.00. The next level up is $60.00. Let’s say you call and pledge at the $60.00 level. You can pay them in one lump sum or have them automatically deduct 5 dollars from your checking or credit cart account every month for a year. Five dollars is quite a lot to pay for one channel every month. Even if you receive great programs the whole family can watch. If every channel charged 5 dollars a month to continue providing quality programs it would become quite expensive.
To get you excited about donating PBS will offer “Thank You” gifts at different membership levels. The more you contribute the better the gift. Gifts vary from a coffee mug, video, audiocassette, subscription service, discounts for local businesses, and more. The gifts can’t be purchased anywhere else. One such gift exclusive to PBS in past years has been a DI-Cast Replica of Mr. Bean’s car. For those who love the British comedy Mr. Bean starring Rowan Atkinson it would be hard to resist such a temptation to own this unique collectable. So pledging has an upscale. You get rewarded with something special in return for helping keep PBS on the air. PBS was very clever in coming up with this ploy to bring in more money for programming and studio costs. I don’t think many people would donate money without receiving a very special “Thank You” gift.
PBS leaves much of its programming decisions to the Station Manager for each of its varying divisions. The “KERA” PBS Station Manager of North Texas located in Dallas Texas broadcasts British Comedies on the weekend whereas National PBS has a Station Manager that broadcasts only one British Comedy at some point during the week. Shows that both PBS stations run will be on different days. “KERA” PBS will run NOVA on Tuesday whereas National PBS will run it on Wednesday.
A Station Manager’s decision to purchase one particular piece of programming may be why individual stations have held pledge drives more often. Some programming just costs more to purchase and air. I’m sure every now and then that they give themselves a raise to adjust the rising cost of inflation. After all they have to eat to.